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Travel agents explore Dubai

IMG_3775Travel agents from around the world recently had an opportunity to explore Dubai while attending the ASTA IDE (American Society of Travel Agents International Destination Expo).  The annual expo provides an opportunity for travel agents to learn and experience international destinations in order to increase their knowledge and expertise.

The event takes place over three days and includes tours, seminars, workshops, one-on-one meetings with destination vendors and opportunities to network with other agents.  A travel agent from New Jersey stated, “I now have personal experiences to help my clients plan a trip to Dubai.  It’s important to be able to share with my clients, first hand information about a city, hotel or activity.”

The Expo started on April 4th with an Opening Night celebration with words from His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of  Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).  His Excellency has a long standing interest in promoting tourism to his country especially encouraging visitors from North America.  His Excellency said: “North America is our fourth biggest source market for tourism, with almost 600,000 people from United States, Canada and Mexico visiting Dubai in 2012. However, there is a huge opportunity to grow this market, with many Americans unaware of Dubai’s tourism offer, let alone it being part of their consideration process when planning overseas holidays or business trips.”

From the buzz on the exhibit floor it seems the vendors and travel agents have great plans to promote Dubai as a tourism spot and partner to ensure travelers have an exciting time.  Dubai’s booming growth in business and real estate are certainly a gateway for tourism to become top of the list.

DTCM ASTA Group copyFrom left to right:  Badr Abbas, Vice President of Operations, Emirates Airlines,  Ahmad Khalifa Al Falasi, CEO, Support Services of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Zane B. Kerby, President and CEO of ASTA and Hamad M bin Mejren, Executive Director, Business Tourism

 

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Greeting the ASTA attendees as they arrived as a performance of the Ayyala, the stick dance. Performed by the men, this tradition originated as a response to danger, when the tribe would sound their drums and shout prior to an attack.
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His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), welcomes the ASTA attendees and invites them  to consider Dubai as a vacation destination.
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His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), greets attendee Annita Thomas, with Travel Bags with Annita.
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The opening night event’s backdrop was the spectacular Burj Al Arab hotel. Considered the most luxurious hotel in the world.

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